Greyhound Canada will reduce service between Victoria and Nanaimo and end its run between Victoria and the Mount Washington ski resort.
Many other B.C. bus routes are affected by service cuts in a decision released this week. The cuts come after a drop in the number of passengers and rising fuel and maintenance costs.
The B.C. Passenger Transportation Board accepted Greyhound’s Oct. 3 application for the cuts in a decision released Tuesday.
Reduced service could be seen on some routes as early as next week, except for routes that run into Alberta where a 30-day notice is required.
Company official Grant Odsen said ridership has been gradually falling for several years and the company is running too many buses.
In its application, the company says it lost about $14.1 million on scheduled passenger operations in B.C. in the 2011-12 fiscal year.
It also says it was hurt by competing provincial government transit and buses operated by Northern and Interior health authorities.
Odsen said the reductions will result in savings of about $6.5 million a year, which he added will be put into upgraded buses on existing routes.
Greyhound will launch the Greyhound Express in B.C. sometime this spring, he added, which will offer passengers more comfortable buses with more leg room and Wi-Fi.
In the B.C. Interior, Clearwater Mayor John Harwood complained that rural communities were not consulted about the cuts.
He said the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board should lift Greyhound’s virtual monopoly on Interior highways, but board chairman Don Zurowski said no such monopoly exists.
Zurowski said other operators are welcome to fill the void.
Transportation Minister Mary Polak said today she will not interfere with a ruling of the Passenger Transportation Board allowing Greyhound to abandon or scale back numerous unprofitable routes.
Polak said if service adjustments had not been allowed, Greyhound might have pulled out of the province entirely.
She said 75 per cent of the routes remain and speculates that Greyhound's decision could create openings for regional carriers willing to pick up the slack.
"We have every reason to believe that there are other private carriers who may, at this juncture, wish to step in and offer their services on smaller, more contained areas of the province," Polak said.
One company, Tofino Bus Service, is already waiting for word on its application to run buses on several of the routes Greyhound has reduced, including between Campbell River, Courtenay, Nanaimo and Victoria.
Owner Dylan Green is hoping his Tofino-based firm has some advantages over Greyhound — including access to a local maintenance shop and the ability to use mini buses rather than motor coaches when demand is very low.
District of Summerland Mayor Janice Perrino said she understands the cost issues for Greyhound but the district needed time to work out transit issues for people who now can't access bigger centres.
"There's no consultation, they just write you and say it's done," she said.
"We've been working on regional transit starting from the south and working through the area but it's really disappointing that this is cut off now, before we're able to get that going."
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B.C. bus routes cuts
The routes affected the Greyhound service cuts, according to the Passenger Transportation Board:
• Victoria to Nanaimo
• Victoria to Mount Washington
• Alberta to Vancouver via Highway 1.
• Kelowna to Penticton.
• Vancouver to Rock Creek.
• Kelowna to Alberta (Highway 3).
• Prince George to Vancouver.
• Alberta to Dawson Creek (Highway 2).
• Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson.
• Dawson Creek to Prince George.
• Prince George to Ft. St. James.
• Prince Rupert to Prince George.
• Alberta to Vancouver via Highway 16.
• Kelowna to Vancouver.
• Vancouver to Mount Currie.
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